organization work, familiar . The expected word count assignment 3300 words length.
According to Baines (2011)
relationship marketing is a marketing style that emphasizes customer satisfaction and retention, rather than focusing dominantly on sales transactions. It focuses mainly on continuous nurturing of customer relationships, instead of focusing mainly on them for one-time purchases. The idea behind relationship marketing is for a company to develop emotionally strong connections with their existing customers, and convert them to be the company's loyal advocates. This is not only fun, but it is more profitable. One will require fewer resources to sell to someone who trusts, likes, and knows your company products than selling to a stranger. Relationship marketing recognizes a customer's long-term value to the company and offers communication that goes beyond sales promotional messages and intrusive advertising.
Apple Inc. is a Multinational Corporation based in Cupertino, California. The company deals with consumer electronics, personal computers, and computer software. Apple Inc. was formed in 1976 and incorporated in 1977. In 2007, the company removed the word computer from its name, which reflected the company's shift towards consumer electronics after the iPhone was introduced. The company also sells portable media players called iPod's and intangible goods like music, software, and video. The Apple chains of stores operate over 150 branches worldwide, where the company's software and devices are sold and serviced. Apple's best known products are iPod, iPhone, Mac computers, iPad, OS X, iOS operating system, iTunes, safari browser, iLife, and iWork.
The company operates in the PC and consumer electronics markets. The company was the innovator of the PC computer with the mouse, floppy disk, GUI, colored graphics. They have been known as the market leaders, and they have redefined the industry. Apple has established itself in the consumer electronics also by its aesthetic designs and having distinct advertising campaigns. The company's strong consumer base has also given it a unique characteristic above its competitors.
Development of relationship marketing at Apple
To ensure that the company has a strong market base, Apple continuously trains its employees not to sell products to its customers, but rather to solve their problems. This leaves a great taste in the customer's mouth and ensures the customer will return to the store. Having happy repeat customers has ensured the success of Apple. The relationships that the company develops give them brand ambassadors who will preach to other people and increase the company's sales Gronroos, 1994.
Apple has discovered that there are many competitors in the consumer electronics market, and the only way to guarantee it sales is by developing good relationships with its existing customers. Apple understands that having a good customer relationship will ensure that the company gets good reviews and promotes loyalty amongst its existing customers. These loyal customers will always return for a new or to upgrade their electronic when the company launches a new product.
Having systems that track and analyze a customer's preferences, tastes, complaints, likes, and dislikes gives Apple a powerful tool to develop custom offers to its individual customers. Since these offers are custom made to suit the customer's preferences, the customer will feel appreciated and will definitely take up the offer. By developing relationships with its customers Apple ensures that it can keep in touch with its customers by providing them with information that is useful regarding the product they purchased, can provide timely service when problems arise, and provide gifts that suit the customer's likes, and preferences.
The customer relationships at Apple have been developed by the provision of timely service, when a customer has a problem the technicians respond immediately and communicate with the customer as the problem is sorted out. To show appreciation to its customers, Apple provides the customer with a free gift when they have been inconvenienced in any way due to a fault in their product. Apple has trained its employees always to approach customers with a warm welcome, politely probe the customer in order to understand their needs, provide solutions to customers, listen and try to resolve the customers problems, and always end the conversation with an invitation to return and a fond farewell. These simple things have developed Apple's customer relationships as the customer always feels appreciated and needed.
Apple also has retail stores, which provide people with an avenue to interact with it products. The stores represent to a customer what it is like to use and own an Apple product. This experience is controlled by Apple, from the design of the store, the staff who work in the stores, the product arrangement on the shelves, and the Genius Bar which offers tech support. These stores have given customers the impression that they are valuable, and this helps the company to develop it relationships. Been its own retailer for its products also develops relationships with its customers and the majority if its loyal customers love this fact.
Apple has developed a great culture which the company reinforces and helps it deliver great customer service. For example, Apple employees are trained to assist the customers solve problems, not to sell, and the employees do not have sales targets or sales commissions. Having this culture, the employee will concentrate more on the customer, and the customer will not feel rushed or pressurized into making a purchase, which in turn will make them feel valued and they will make an informed purchase.
To develop customer relationships Apple also uses warranties which are normally for one year and they apply to all their products. This kind of warranties not only increases customer relationships, but they also improve customer perceptions of their products. Having a consistent product performance and maintaining consistency in its products, have ensured customers that they will get quality products, which will provide them with an easy and familiar functionality. This has had a strong effect on building its customer relationships.
B2C is an acronym for business to consumers, which basically refers to any transaction between a business and a consumer. B2B is an acronym for business to business, which defines transactions that take place between a business and another business. There are no differences how the customer relationships for B2C and B2B have developed at Apple. Apple has managed to appeal to all demographics regardless of the kind of transaction. The company uses the same strategies for both consumers and other businesses, which ensures that whether corporate or personal customers one will get the same relationship from Apple.
The main reason as to why there is no difference between how the relationships have developed for B2C and B2B, is because Apple does not market to enterprises or specific markets. Apple targets people and focuses all its marketing activities on the users of it products. The company lets its customers decide where and how they will use the products they purchase. Been strictly focused on its customers has made Apple build long-term relationships with its individual customers on a personal level instead of corporate. Having concentrated on developing individual customer relationships, Apple has managed to appeal to large enterprises because these enterprises would also want to get the same relationship that the individual customer receives.
Majority of the B2B customers of Apple were once B2C customers, and since they have a relationship with the company, they feel they should also acquire Apple products for their business. Having a good relationship with an executive of a specific company and showing them appreciation, would make them desire to have all their employees use Apple products in the office. This would increase Apples sales and increase its customer base significantly. These employees upon experiencing the relationship marketing from Apple will end up purchasing Apple products for themselves.
Since Apple does not target specific markets, it targets individuals, and these individuals are the same whether from domestic markets or overseas markets, there is no difference on how the company develops its customer relationships. Focusing mostly on customer satisfaction at all times and in all it Apple stores, ensures that the company is able to provide the same customer experience in the domestic and overseas markets. Therefore, a customer who has visited a local store will get the same experience if they were to visit an overseas store.
If the company had been targeting individual markets, then there would have been differences in how the relationships are developed in the domestic and overseas markets. When handling customers overseas, the company would have to consider the cultural and social norms of each individual market to determine how best to build relationships.
A company's stakeholders include employees, investors, owners, suppliers, customers, government agencies, and competitors. By effectively managing its relationships with these stakeholders, a company is able to increase its overall business valuation and enhance its intangible assets quality. For each group of stakeholders, a company has to apply this principles authenticity, engagement, and integrity.
Employees need to feel and know they are valued within the company to ensure that they demonstrate it to the customers. Showing the employees…